Fisheries Management Programme

There are 3000-4000 fishers in the PBPA, with an unknown number also coming in from Kingston, Port Royal and the North Coast to use the area. Other persons also benefit from the fishery including fish vendors, fish cleaners and restaurants.

Fishers have reported a decline in the fish stock since the 1980s. This is believed to be caused, among other things, by bad fishing practices, pollution and invasive animal species. The Fisheries Management Programme aims to produce measurable signs of recovery in the PBPA's fisheries by 2020.


  1. Bad Fishing Practices
  • the use of crankshafts attached to chains that are drawn over reefs, breaking up the coral and scaring the fish
  • the use of dynamite on the reefs and in the mangroves
  • the use of fish pots and with mesh smaller than the legal size
  • the use of beach seines (wide area fishing nets that hang vertically in the water with their bottom edges held down by weights)
  • spear fishing at night (which is actually illegal)
  • Pollution
    • high nutrient levels, agricultural chemicals and sewage in freshwater outflows from rivers, streams and springs (including large numbers of submarine springs)
    • seawater that travels westwards from Kingston Harbour along the coast
    • oil pollution resulting from spills from the undersea pipeline between Old Harbour Bay and Port Esquivel as well as from tankers carrying oil to Port Esquivel
    • chemical pollution from accidents with boats carrying chemicals to Port Esquivel
    • bilge water (stagnant water trapped in the bottoms of ships)
    • silt from dredging of the shipping channels and deposition of dredge spoil at sea (dredging involves digging up soil at the bottom of the ocean in one location and depositing it in another)
    • garbage carried to the sea by rivers and gullies
  • Coral Reef Decline
    • as a result of pollution, overfishing, algea overgrowth and storm damage
  • Overfishing
    • removes fish that would otherwise help sea urchins keep the reefs clear of algae
  • Disease and Damage
    • the death of a large number of Diadema sea urchins as a result of disease in the 1980s, from which sea urchins are only slowly recovering
  • Invasive Alien Species
    • Lionfish
    • Green Mussel (which is present up-current in Kingston Harbour)
  • Consumer Pressure
    • shift in demand from sliced fish to “plate-sized” fish
    • shift in demand from jacks, snapper and kingfish to parrotfish
  • Climate change
    • which impacts on sea temperatures, freshwater outflows, sea levels and the frequency of storms, all of which are making it harder for the fisheries to recover
  • Coastal Development
    • the proposed construction of a cement factory and an LNG plant
    • expansion and other proposed activities that directly or indirectly affect reef
  • Unmanaged Fisheries Resources
  • Ongoing Measures

    1. Portland Bight Fisheries Management Council
    2. This was established in 1995,with the objective of improving fisheries management by involving fishers’ organizations in the process. Its role and responsibilities include:
    • seeking representation from all groups involved in the marine sector in the PBFMC
    • reviewing relevant legislation (existing and proposed)
    • reviewing management plans for the fisheries d. informing stakeholders on matters to do with fishing and marine resource
    • assisting with enforcement of marine legislation.
  • Special Fisheries Management Areas
  • In 2010, the Fisheries Division established three SFMAs in the PBPA, in the expectation that this would help fish stocks to recover. C-CAM is managing the SFMAs under a memorandum of agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture, with a budget that supports a part-time Fish Sanctuary Manager, up to 6 full time Conservation Officers, and the cost of boat patrols and basic equipment. C-CAM has prepared and is implementing management plans for these sanctuaries.
  • Education & Awareness
  • C-CAM received funding from the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ) for an education programme to support the implementation of the SFMAs, which has included the development of a schools programme, banners and an educational video.
  • Enforcement
  • The Marine Police have recently established a base in Old Harbour, with 16 officers. Baseline Surveys A baseline survey of coral reefs was carried out in the 1990s. Studies of post-hurricane coral reefs were carried out by the Jamaica Coral Reef Monitoring Network (JCRMN) in 2003-4. C-CAM currently has funding from the EFJ for a national baseline survey of SFMAs. Monitoring The Fisheries Division carries out monitoring of fishing efforts at the fishing beaches. C-CAM monitors the SFMAs. Artificial Reef Windalco is funding the creation of an artificial reef in Three Bays Sanctuaries.